1996 Summer Paralympics

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X Paralympic Games
1996 Paralymic games logo.svg
Host cityAtlanta, Georgia, United States
MottoThe Triumph of the Human Spirit
Athletes3,259 (2,469 men, 790 women)
Events508 in 20 sports
OpeningAugust 16
ClosingAugust 25
Opened by
StadiumCentennial Olympic Stadium
1996 Summer Olympics

The 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, United States were held from August 16 to 25. It was the first Paralympics to get mass media sponsorship,[1] and had a budget of USD $81 million.[2]

It was the first Paralympic Games where International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability athletes were given full medal status.[3]

Symbol and mascot of the games[edit]

1996 Paralympic Mascot, Blaze the Phoenix

The mascot for the Paralympic Summer Games in Atlanta 1996 was Blaze. Blaze was created by Trevor Stone Irvin of Irvin Productions in Atlanta.

Blaze is a phoenix, a mythical bird that rises from ashes to experience a renewed life. The phoenix appears in Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and Native American folklore and in all instances symbolizes strength, vision, inspiration and survival. The phoenix was an ideal mascot for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games and later for BlazeSports America, a nonprofit organization that is the direct legacy of the Games. The phoenix has long been the symbol of Atlanta's rebirth after its devastation in the American Civil War. But most importantly, it is the personification of the will, perseverance and determination of youth and adults with physical disability to achieve full and productive lives. Blaze, with his bright colors, height and broad wing span, reflects the traits, identified in a focus group of athletes with disability, as those they believed best represented the drive to succeed of persons with physical disability who pursue sports as recreation and as a competitive endeavor. Today, Blaze is the most recognizable symbol of disability sport in America.


Eila Nilsson of Sweden celebrating her 50 m freestyle B1 gold with Janice Burton of Great Britain and Tracey Cross of Australia.

The games consisted of 508 events spread over twenty sports, including three demonstration sports.[1]

A group of Australian supporters at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games


In total 11 venues were used at the 1996 Summer Olympics and five new venues were used at the Games in Atlanta.[4]

Olympic Ring[edit]

Metro Atlanta[edit]

Another Venues[edit]


In the following calendar for the 1996 Summer Paralympics, each blue box represents an event competition. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport are held. The number in each yellow box represents the number of finals that are contested on that day.[5]

 ●  Opening ceremony      Event competitions      Event finals  ●  Closing ceremony
August  Tue
Ceremonies OC CC N/A
Archery 5 3 8
Athletics 16 25 28 26 24 18 25 29 20 211
Boccia 5 5
Cycling Track 3 6 2 11
Cycling Road 4 4 4 12
Equestrian 4 5 9
Football 7-a-side 1 1
Goalball 2 2
Judo 2 2 3 7
Lawn Bowls 4 4 8
Powerlifting 2 2 2 2 2 10
Sailing 1 1
Shooting 2 3 2 2 1 2 2 15
Sitting volleyball 1 1
Standing volleyball 1 1
Swimming 18 20 15 11 19 19 15 28 21 168
Wheelchair basketball 1 1 2
Wheelchair rugby 1 1
Wheelchair tennis 1 3 4
Total 0 2 39 54 47 50 56 61 54 66 45 517

Medal count[edit]

A total of 1574 medals were awarded during the Atlanta games: 517 gold, 516 silver, and 541 bronze. The host country, the United States, topped the medal count with more gold medals, more bronze medals, and more medals overall than any other nation. Germany took the most silver medals, with 58.[6]

In the table below, the ranking sorts by the number of gold medals earned by the top ten nations (in this context a nation is an entity represented by a National Paralympic Committee). The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze medals.

  Host country (United States)

1 United States (USA)*464665157
2 Australia (AUS)423727106
3 Germany (GER)405851149
4 Great Britain (GBR)394241122
5 Spain (ESP)393136106
6 France (FRA)35293195
7 Canada (CAN)24212469
8 Netherlands (NED)17111745
9 China (CHN)16131039
10 Japan (JPN)14101337
Totals (10 nations)312298315925

Attendance and coverage[edit]

For the first time the Paralympics were being televised on American TV. This has now led to each following Paralympic games being televised.

Germany was the second largest contingency of spectators apart from America, which is highlighted in their 149 medal tally, only second to the USA.

Participating delegations[edit]

A total of 100 nations were represented at the 1996 Games, and the combined total of athletes was about 3,260.

Participating National Paralympic Committees


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Atlanta 1996 – General Information". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  2. ^ Ian Brittain (2009). The Paralympic Games Explained. Taylor & Francis. p. 83. ISBN 0-415-47658-5.
  3. ^ Robert Daniel Steadward; Elizabeth Jane Watkinson; Garry David Wheeler (2003). Adapted physical activity. University of Alberta. p. 577. ISBN 0-88864-375-6.
  4. ^ "Tickets". Atlanta Paralympics Organizing Committee. 1996. Archived from the original on February 6, 1997. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  5. ^ "Atlanta 1996 Summer Paralympics Results". Atlanta 1996 Summer Paralympics Official Website. Archived from the original on December 17, 1996. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  6. ^ "Medal Standings – Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Summer Paralympics

X Paralympic Summer Games (1996)
Succeeded by